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City of Griffin loses over $800,000 to massive BEC fraud

City of Griffin loses over $800,000 to massive BEC fraud
  • The scammers used a phishing email to deceive the City of Griffin Finance Department official Chuck Olmstead.
  • The scam came to light when the Finance Department was contacted by the water treatment facilities PF Moon.

City of Griffin, Georgia has been duped of over $800,000 in a massive BEC fraud. The scammers tricked the city officials into redirecting a huge amount to their own bank accounts using a phishing email.

What happened?

The scammers behind the cyber incident used a phishing email to deceive the City of Griffin Finance Department official Chuck Olmstead, Bleeping Computer reported. The email appeared to come from one of the legitimate vendors - PF Moon - of the city which was supposed to receive the funds.

The Finance Department officials believed the email to be from the water treatment facilities PF Moon and had made the first transaction of $581,180.51 on June 21, 2019. This was followed by a second transaction - $221,318 - which was done on June 26, 2019. The total amount lost in these two transactions stood at $802,499.29.

The scam came to light when the Finance Department was contacted by PF Moon. It was found that the scammers made slight changes in the email address which went unnoticed by the Finance Department.

“The actual true vendor called wanting to know where their payment was, and we told them we’d already paid them. They said they hadn’t received it, so we went back and looked. Once we discovered there was a slight differentiation in the emails, that’s when we learned what had happened,” said Kenny L. Smith, Griffin City Manager.

What actions are being taken?

The Griffin City is working closely with the CoG Information Technology Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to trace the source of the fake email.

“We have not (recovered the money). We’re still working with banking groups that are involved in it, and we’re working with the FBI, who is investigating the fraud, and we’re just waiting on additional information,” Smith added, The Grip reported.

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